I get witnessed to fairly frequently which is absolutely to be expected as an outspoken atheist here in the South. Generally I don’t mind when someone wants to share with me their version of the gospel. I don’t mind it in the least so long as the individual taking the time to tell me the “Truth” is also willing to listen to what I have to say in regards to that “Truth”. You see, I believe that if you are willing to share your faith with people (as Jesus commands in Mark 16) that you should also be willing to hear criticisms of that faith. It’s a simple trade really; most Christians are happy to tell me that I’ll go to hell for eternity if I don’t accept their brand of the faith so I should be allowed to criticize the faith that they get those beliefs from.
Even when a young evangelical does his or her best to avoid terms like Hell and damnation there are certain underlying tones of the Gospel; that I along with everyone ever born am fully depraved and unworthy of salvation, or that there is actually something that I need to be saved from that though not as blatant in their attempt are still just as insulting to the human mind as more confrontational fire and brimstone tactics. Virtually any sort of evangelism being exacted upon myself is grounds for challenge. This should go without saying.
Unfortunately, for the most part, any sort of challenge to someones deeply held convictions is considered taboo or even insulting and disrespectful. I’m frequently accused of these things by people who initially contact me in order to evangelize and I find this to be an utterly ridiculous double standard and blatant hypocrisy on their part. If one’s faith is worth it’s weight then it should not only be able to stand up to criticism but the believer should be willing to defend it – or as Paul allegedly put it:
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ~ 2 Timothy 4:5
This is your job Christians – if you are willing to evangelize this is what your holy book tells you to do. Take up your cross fully, or don’t bother at all. It is a strange and unfair double standard to expect the unbeliever to sit quietly while you promote your faith and in some cases condemn the whole lot of us to hell. Expect non-believers to digress and be prepared to engage with us, otherwise we’ll find it harder to respect you and believe it or not many of us dearly want to respect you.